Vegan black bean sopes

Are you looking for a sope recipe that is dairy free and vegan friendly? Then this is the recipe for you! This recipe for vegan sopes features crispy homemade sope shells that are topped with flavorful black beans, creamy mashed avocado, and charred fajita-style vegetables.

These vegan sopes are made with masa harina so they are naturally gluten free! In addition to begin gluten free and vegan friendly, these tasty sopes are dairy free, vegetarian friendly, egg free, and nut free.

Vegan black bean sopes

What are sopes made of?

What are sopes made of? Sopes are made of a simple dough that is made by combining masa harina and water in equal parts. Masa harina is a corn based flour that is made from corn that has been treated with an alkaline solution, dried, and ground to a fine powder. Other popular dishes that are made with masa harina include corn tortillas, pupusas, chalupas, and gorditas.

Masa harina is made entirely from corn and generally does not contain any other grains. This means that most brands of masa harina are gluten free as long as the masa is not made on equipment that is shared with gluten containing grains.

How to use your fingers to shape sopes

How to make sopes from scratch

How do you make sopes from scratch? Sopes are relatively easy to make from scratch. They are much easier to make than other masa harina products like corn tortillas because the dough does not need to be rolled out so thin that it becomes delicate to handle. Here is how to make sopes from scratch. 

  1. Make the sope dough. Mix masa harina and warm water in equal parts to make masa dough for the sopes. Add around 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of salt per 1 cup of masa harina used. 
  2. Separate the dough. After you have made the masa dough, it is time to separate the masa dough into equally sized balls. Separate the sope dough into balls that are 1 1/2 inches – 2 inches in diameter. You should be able to make around 6 balls of dough per cup of masa harina used.
  3. Shape the sopes. Flatten the balls of dough between the palms of your hands to make round disks that are 1 cm – 2 cm thick. Pinch the dough around the edges of the disks to build up rims around the outside of the sopes. Press down on the center of the sopes to even out the floor of the sopes and fill in pockets where the dough has been pinched away from. 
  4. Cook the sopes. Preheat a large flat pan and fill the pan with at least 1/2 inch of vegetable oil. Fry the sopes in the vegetable oil for about 3 minutes per side until they turn golden brown. You should cool the flat side first and the side with the rim second.

How to use your fingers to shape sopes

How to make refried beans vegan

If you do not stick to a vegan or vegetarian diet it might surprise you to hear that refried beans are generally not vegan. There are two main reasons why refried beans might not be vegan friendly. The first is lard. It is common for refried beans to be fried in lard, which is an animal product that is not suitable for people on a vegan or vegetarian diet. The second reason is that refried beans are often flavored with dairy products like butter, cream, and sour cream.

So how do you make refried beans that are vegan? First you have to use a substitute for lard to fry your beans and aromatics. You can use any neutral oil in place of lard. I generally use vegetable oil. Next you have to think about whether you want to use a dairy substitute or omit the dairy ingredients entirely. If you do want to use a dairy substitute I recommend adding a little bit of coconut oil or coconut milk to your vegan refried beans. 

How to make vegan refried beans taste good

So now you know how to make vegan refried beans, but how do you make them bold and flavorful like the refried beans you might get at a Mexican restaurant? Here are our top tips for making vegan refried beans that are bold and flavorful

  • Add some aromatic veggies. I recommend using onions, tomatoes, and garlic when you make vegan refried beans. If they make the texture too chunky for you, you can always use a blender or food processor to blend them into your beans.
  • Add some acid. If you are adding tomatoes to your refried beans then that is a good start. If you are not adding tomatoes, or if you feel that the beans are still a little bland after the tomatoes are added then try adding some lime juice or hot sauce to your beans.
  • Add some vegetable bouillon or stock. This is an easy trick to make any savory dish taste a little better. You have two options here. You can either substitute any water you were going to use for vegetable stock or you could add a pinch of crushed bouillon cube to your beans.
  • Add some spices. It should come as no surprise that spices can, well, spice up your beans a little bit. I recommend using some combination of cumin, paprika, oregano, onion powder, chili powder, and garlic powder.
  • Add a creamy element. Adding a little creaminess to your refried beans is a great way to tie together to the spices and aromatics you added earlier. I recommend using a little bit of coconut cream or coconut milk in vegan refried beans.
  • Sugar. Adding a little bit of sugar to your refried beans helps to balance out the flavor profile. If you do not stick to a vegan diet, honey goes great in refried beans.

How a fully shaped sope should look

Other vegan sope topping ideas

So you have made these sopes and you are looking to branch out. What else can you put on vegan sopes? Here are some of our favorite toppings to put on vegan sopes. 

  • Onions. Red onions, green onions, or white onions. Raw onions, grilled onions, or pickled onions. Onions get their own category because there are just so many options. 
  • Raw fruits & vegetables. Shredded lettuce, shredded cabbage, diced tomatoes, avocado, ripe mango, lime wedges, jicama, sliced jalapeños.
  • Cooked fruits & vegetables. Grilled pineapple, grilled bell peppers, fried sweet plantains, grilled corn.
  • Sauces. Guacamole, salsa rojo, salsa verde, pico de gallo, mango salsa, hot sauce, vegan chipotle mayo, guacasaca. 
  • Other garnishes. Cilantro. 

Fully cooked sopes

Vegan sopes

Sopes are made with flat corn-based shells that you can pile high with all of your favorite Mexican-inspired toppings. These tasty vegan sopes are topped with refried black beans, fajita style vegetables, green onions, and avocado. These homemade sopes are gluten free, dairy free, and vegan friendly!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Lactose, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: dairy free, egg free, gluten free, nut free, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 6 sopes


  • 3 stalks green onion
  • 1 large avocado

Vegan refried black beans

  • 15 oz black beans (standard 15 oz can)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk (optional)

Sope shells

  • 1 heaping cup masa harina
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (for frying)

Fajita style vegetables

  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt


Vegan refried black beans

  • Dice the onions, tomatoes, and garlic for the refried beans.
  • Heat a medium sized pot over medium heat then add 1 tsp vegetable oil. Add the onions to the pot and saute them for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the pot and cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Add all of the other black bean ingredients to the pot then reduce the heat to low or medium low. Simmer the beans for 20 minutes until most of the water boils off. While the beans are cooking you can move on to make the sope shells.
    Many of the beans should burst open as they cook but you can blend them with an immersion blender if you want a nice, smooth consistency.

Sope shells

  • Combine the ingredients for the masa dough and mix them well. Separate the dough into 6 equally sized balls.
  • Shape the sopes. Grab a ball of masa dough and flatten it between your palms until it is 1 cm - 2 cm thick. Pinch the dough around the edges to form a rim all the way around the edge of the sope. Press down on the floor of the sope to flatten out the bottom of the sope and fill in areas dough was taken from to build up the rim.
  • Heat a large flat bottomed pan over medium heat then add 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Fry the sopes for 3 minutes per side until they become golden brown.
    You should cook the flat side of the sope first then cook the side with the rim second.

Fajita style vegetables

  • Thinly slice the onion and bell peppers for the sope toppings.
  • Top the onion and bell pepper with salt and pepper then saute them in vegetable oil over medium high heat for 10 minutes until they start to blacken.
    You may need to use high heat at the end to get a nice char on the vegetables. You can also just throw the veggies on a grill.

Assemble the sopes

  • Slice the green onions and mash the avocados.
  • Top the sopes with refried black beans, fajita style vegetables, and mashed avocado, and green vegetables.

Tools & ingredients for making sopes

Here are some of the tools and ingredients we recommend for making black bean sopes. We included a link to a reliable immersion blender that can be used to blend your refried beans without ever removing them from the pot! We also included a link for the chef’s knife we use to slice our veggies. This is our favorite knife we have ever owned!

Additions and substitutions for vegan sopes

Here are some common additions and substitutions for this vegan sope recipe. 

  • Coconut milk in refried beans. Refried beans taste great when there is a creamy element to tie together the beans, spices, acid, and aromatics. That being said, any type of plant based milk or cream will work here. Products with a higher fat content will work slightly better. 
  • Spices in refried beans. In this recipe we use equal parts cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano to flavor the refried beans but you can use any blend of Mexican spices and flavorings. If you have a favorite pre-made taco seasoning you can add some of that to the beans as well. 
  • Fajita style veggies. There is no reason you have to stick to just bell peppers and onions. You could also add zucchini, mushrooms, or anything else you prefer to boost the veggie content.

Other gluten free sope recipes

Vegan and gluten free chalupas. Three vegan, gluten free, and dairy free chalupas with pinto beans, guacamole, and grilled veggies.

If you are looking for a vegan chalupa recipe you should check out this recipe for vegan chalupas with saucy pinto beans, roasted vegetables, and homemade guacamole.

homemade vegetarian sopes

This recipe for vegetarian sopes with refried pinto beans is one of our all time favorite Mexican recipes. And that’s saying a lot because we eat a lot of Mexican food! This recipe features our roasted poblano crema as well as our recipe for vegetarian refried pinto beans

How a fully shaped sope should look

If you have any questions about how to make sopes you should check out our comprehensive guide on how to make sopes. In this article we answer all of the most frequently asked questions about sopes. We also include a step by step tutorial with photos at each step on how to shape sopes. 

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